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    Joe Biden’s Coronavirus Task Force demands Trump administration info

    Joe Biden’s campaign demands to know critical COVID information including just how many N95 masks there are and where crucial supplies for vaccine distribution are located as they escalate tensions over Trump’s transition refusal

    • Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force is doubling down on its call for President Donald Trump’s administration to share information on the virus
    • They have a laundry list of items they’re seeking to help pandemic response 
    • ‘Cooperation and communication must be the foundations of our COVID-19 response. We have to work together,’ Dr. Vivek Murthy told reporters
    • Biden team seeking numbers on N95 masks, hospital beds, PPE and other medical information
    • Real time numbers of infection rates and hospital stays
    • Access to what in the Strategic National Reserve 
    • They claim not being in formal transition process is hampering their response 

    Joe Biden‘s coronavirus task force is doubling down on its call for President Donald Trump‘s administration to share information on the virus and are demanding a laundry list of items to help them in their response to the pandemic.

    ‘Cooperation and communication must be the foundations of our COVID-19 response. We have to work together as quickly and efficiently as possible. We have to share information,’ Dr. Vivek Murthy, the former surgeon general leading Biden’s task force, told reporters in a briefing on Tuesday.

    He pointed out that many government staffers working on the pandemic are career federal employees who will stay on the job during the Biden administration.

    ‘They will be our partners in addressing COVID-19,’ Murthy said. 

    Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force is doubling down on its call for President Donald Trump’s administration to share information on the virus

    Dr. Vivek Murthy

    Dr. David Kessler

    In a briefing with reporters Tuesday, Dr. Vivek Murthy (left) and Dr. David Kessler (right) listed information they need in their work as part of Biden’s coronavirus task force and said the Trump administration’s refusal to start the transition process is hampering them

    Biden’s team is asking for a variety of information about medical supplies, staffing, and protective gear, in addition to the information on they’re seeking on the administration’s plan to distribute a vaccine to the 300 million Americans will need it. 

    They argued that lack of information and the administration’s refusal to start the formal transition process is hampering their work to counter the pandemic.  

    That includes, according to what officials on the briefing call said and a list of demands reported by NBC News:

    • The total number of N95 masks, plastic gloves and syringes available for medical professionals nationwide. 
    • Information on the size of the nursing staff available to administer millions of doses of the vaccine, including in rural areas. 
    • An understanding of where existing supplies are stored, whether they meet the projected demands of all 50 states, how quality control checks will be conducted, and how to prevent state and hospital system bidding wars. 
    • Terms of vaccine contracts with pharmaceutical companies, including logistics, and the role of the Department of Defense. 
    • Real time data on supplies hospital beds, ventilators and the capacity of the Strategic National Stockpile.
    • Existing databases on testing, vaccinations and protective gear.   

    Hampering their work is the fact the General Services Administration has refused to formally name Biden the president-elect so his team can talk to federal agencies to prepare for the transfer of power.

    ‘We don’t know when this will peak,’ Dr. David Kessler, another leader of Biden’s task force, said of the pandemic, which is seeing cases rise across the United States. ‘We have no time to waste.’

    ‘Getting everyone vaccinated who wants to be vaccinated is a daunting task even under the best of circumstances,’ he noted, adding that the federal government has said they are working on plans for February and March, as is their team.

    ‘The sooner everyone can cooperate the more seamless it will be,’ Kessler said on the briefing with reporters. 

    Moderna announced early Monday morning that its vaccine can prevent as much as 95 percent of infections, according to preliminary data from its large trials. 

    This second vaccine breakthrough in a week is a bright spot of hope on the horizon as U.S. officials gear up to roll out shots made by Moderna as well as Pfizer (which announced its vaccine performs 90 percent better than a placebo last week) immediately following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) emergency approval of each. 

    Moderna was part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program. And, unlike Pfizer’s vaccine, Moderna’s shot can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, which should make it easier to distribute. 

    The U.S. government has already bought 100 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate 50 million Americans given people need to have two shots.

    The Biden coronavirus task force is seeking information from the Trump administration on real time data like testing and hospital beds available in addition to databases of supply information

    The Biden coronavirus task force is seeking information from the Trump administration on real time data like testing and hospital beds available in addition to databases of supply information

    The Biden team's request comes as two companies have shown promising COVID vaccines

    The Biden team’s request comes as two companies have shown promising COVID vaccines

    Biden has warned without access to information and plans being made under Trump’s administration, more people could die.

    ‘We’re going into a very dark winter. Things are going to get tougher before it gets easier,’ the president-elect said on Monday during a speech on the pandemic and the economy. 

    ‘More people may die if we don’t coordinate,’ he added. 

    New coronavirus cases in the United States have topped 100,000 on a daily basis for 14 days in a row and nearly 70,000 people are currently hospitalized for the infection across the country. 

    In total, more than 11 million people have been infected and 246,854 have died of COVID-19.   

    The White House has noted there is publicly available information, and that planning continues in the current administration to distribute the vaccine. 

    Members of Biden’s coronavirus task force said on the call that they are using media reports and public databases like the COVID Tracking Project to help them in their preparations. 

    Additionally, U.S. doctors and nurses, in a letter published on Tuesday, urged the Trump administration to share critical COVID-19 data with Biden’s transition team.

    ‘Real-time data and information on the supply of therapeutics, testing supplies, personal protective equipment, ventilators, hospital bed capacity and workforce availability to plan for further deployment of the nation´s assets needs to be shared to save countless lives,’ said the letter, signed by the leadership of the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Hospitals Association. 

    Medical experts have warned that winter could bring a rise in COVID cases. Several governors have started tightening rules on public gatherings and cracking down on wearing masks in public. 

    Forty-one states have reported record increases in COVID-19 cases in November, 20 have seen a record rise in deaths and 26 reported record hospitalizations, according to a Reuters tally of public health data.

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